31 Festive Holiday Cookie Recipes
Roll-and-Cut Sugar Cookies
“Roll-and-cut” sugar cookies are made by flattening dough with a rolling pin, then cutting out shapes. The dough recipe here is ideal: durable enough to withstand rolling and rerolling, yet soft enough to cut neatly. The cookies themselves are extremely versatile. They can be simply sprinkled with sugar and baked; or, after they’re baked, they can be decorated with royal icing or sandwiched with jam and sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.
Raspberry-Hazelnut Macaroons (Haselnussmakronen)
These German raspberry-hazelnut macaroons require just five ingredients and are extremely no-fuss. Says Berlin-based blogger Luisa Weiss, “You just throw the dough together, heat up some jam and you’re almost there.”
Thumbprint cookies—made by pressing a small round of dough with the thumb to form an indentation—are great for filling with chocolate or jam. These thumbprints have a creamy, minty white-chocolate filling. Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito often mix chopped Andes mint candies into the batter, but any kind of mint-flavored chocolate works well.
Big White Chocolate, Almond and Cranberry Cookies
Almond flour and toasted almonds give these crispy, chewy cookies doubly nutty flavor.
Ginger-Studded Sugar Cookies
“My father used a lot of ginger in his baking,” says Kevin Sbraga. “It adds that burst of flavor that makes you think, Wow.” This sweet, candied-ginger dough can be rolled out and cut into any shape or formed into logs and refrigerated for simple slice-and-bake cookies.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Cookies
Grace Parisi grinds granola to use in place of flour, then adds whole pieces of granola to her dough for crunch.
Iced Brown Sugar Cookies
“I really like the idea of using white frosting on this cookie, which has a little bit of brown sugar in it for great color, because the contrast between the two is so distinct,” says Matt Lewis of Brooklyn’s Baked bakery.
Baby Bûche de Noël Cookies
Jessie Oleson rolls chocolate cookie dough into ropes, then cuts them into mini logs to resemble the classic French bûche de Noël cake.
Walnut Snowball Cookies
These buttery, crumbly, sugar-dusted cookies are irresistible. Jerusalem cooks personalize them with different nuts and aromatic flavorings, like rose water or cardamom.
Linzer Cookies with Spiced Jam
Kevin Sbraga credits his father, Harvey Beachem, with creating these linzer torte-inspired cookies at Harvey’s Bakery in Willingboro, New Jersey. He takes his father’s recipe one step further, adding anise and coriander to the raspberry jam that he spreads between the hazelnut cookies (which are spiced with cinnamon and cloves).
Double-Ginger Sugar Cookies
F&W’s Grace Parisi opts for baking soda instead of baking powder to create delectable holiday sugar cookies that are especially crispy.
Dried Cranberry and Chocolate Cookies
Adding cranberries and rolled oats to buttery chocolate chip cookie dough makes the cookies crunchier and more substantial.
Lemon-Curd Sandwich Cookies
Sablés (French butter cookies) were Kevin Sbraga’s favorites growing up. “I’d sneak them when I wasn’t supposed to,” he says. His wife, Jesmary, who teaches baking, had the idea to sandwich them with lemon curd.
These truffle-like cookies have an unexpected piece of candy in the centers. They’re adapted from a traditional holiday cookie that Renato Poliafito discovered during his travels in Germany.
Butter Cookies with Clove Sugar
Kantin Dükkan chef Semsa Denizsel’s crumbly cookies are lightly flavored with the ground cloves she mixes into the confectioners’ sugar coating. Clarified butter in the cookies makes them extracrisp.
Here is the chocolate lovers’ cookie: a deeply rich, moist cookie speckled with hazelnuts, pistachios and dried cherries.
These marvelous Christmas cookies combine chocolate with spicy gingerbread. “I was tired of basic gingerbread,” says Matt Lewis. “And my connection to chocolate is really deep.” An added benefit of these cookies: The supple dough is very easy to work with, and the scraps can be rerolled and cut out.
Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies
Many traditional holiday flavors come together in this little sweet, with its layer of chocolate sandwiched between cookies spiced with cinnamon, allspice and cloves. A sprinkle of chopped hazelnuts gives additional crunch.
Cinnamon Spritz Sandwich Cookies
Spritz cookies are buttery Scandinavian sweets made by forcing (“spritzing”) dough through a press, creating fun shapes. Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito’s cakey version—piped with a pastry bag, then sandwiched with fluffy meringue—resembles a little whoopie pie.
Chocolate-Mint Sandwich Cookies
Granny Wallace’s Shortbread Cookies
These outstanding buttery, sugar-dusted cookies are a specialty of Granny Wallace, minister Matt Canlis’s neighbor in Methlick. Matt calls her the “grandmother in residence,” offering advice, baked goods and gardening tips.
These sandwich cookies get plenty of rich chocolate flavor from cocoa powder and an intense ganache filling.
Almond Cookies with Caramel Dipping Sauce
For Fabio Trabocchi’s Spanish-born wife, Maria, it isn’t Christmas without polvorones, crumbly Spanish almond cookies traditionally made with pork fat. Trabocchi developed this all-butter version while he and Maria were living in London and unable to find the Spanish original.
Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookies
Should a chocolate chip cookie be chewy or crispy? This recipe, with its crisp crinkly top and chewy center, is both. We also give guidelines for anyone who demands a perfectly chewy or completely crisp version.
Ginger Sandwich Cookies
Nick Malgieri adds a puckery note to his gingersnap cookies by sandwiching them with a fresh lemon cream.
These cookies are unbelievably light, delicate and crisp. The secret is to let the cookie dough chill overnight before slicing and baking.
Kevin Sbraga varies these wonderful nutty biscotti, sometimes dipping them in melted dark chocolate for an extra layer of flavor.
Butterscotch-Glazed Coffee Shortbread Bars
Flo Braker flavors her ethereally light shortbread with finely ground espresso beans. The best part is the golden, gooey butterscotch glaze, which becomes deliciously fudgy as the bars sit in the cookie jar.
Milk-Chocolate Cookies with Malted Cream
Pastry chef Mathew Rice grew up loving an Oreo-like sandwich cookie called Murray Chocolate Cremes. In this homage, he creates a malty filling for milk-chocolate wafers by mixing butter and sugar with Ovaltine.
Chocolate-Hazelnut Clouds with Cocoa Nibs
“Spices in dessert are completely underrated,” says Malika Ameen. A former pastry chef, she started By M Desserts online, selling pastry-chef-style sweets, like cookies flavored with unusual spices. Cocoa nibs add crunch to these light and puffy chocolate meringues.
Brutti Ma Buoni
These crunchy-chewy cookies, sold at bakeries all over Lazio, are called brutti ma buoni in Italian, or “ugly but good.” The name pretty much says it all. Antico Forno Molinari, in operation in the town of Frascati since the 1800s, makes this delicious and effortless four-ingredient version.